Zsolt Nagy to Lead Discussion on Advancing Geospatial Priorities at GIS-Pro 2010

Zsolt Nagy, GISP, will draw on his current and previous experiences to speak on the directions and opportunities to identify, collaborate, and advance geospatial priorities during the Closing Plenary Session at GIS-Pro 2010: URISA’s 48th Annual Conference for GIS Professionals in Orlando.

Zsolt Nagy is a Senior Project Manager with AECOM focused on advancing and marketing the company’s GIS specialty practice.  Prior to joining AECOM in 2009, Mr. Nagy was the State GIS Coordination Manager for the State of North Carolina.  Zsolt conducted his first GIS project over 30 years ago utilizing a classic ‘overlay’ approach in the evaluation and positioning of a recreational hiking trail in the Duke Forest.   A graduate of North Carolina State University College of Natural Resources and Paul Smith’s College of Forestry, Zsolt began his professional career at the NC Center for Geographic Information & Analysis as a Technician taking career steps with positions as Project Leader, GIS Analyst, Project Manager, Production Manager, and Database Administrator, before serving as the State GIS Coordinator.   Zsolt has made numerous contributions to national organizations and on collaborative initiatives.  He was appointed by the US Secretary of Interior as a charter member of the National Geospatial Advisory Committee and is a former President of the National States Geographic Information Council.  Earlier this year, Zsolt received The Old North State Award from Governor Bev Perdue in recognition of his service to North Carolina.

GIS-Pro 2010 will take place September 28-October 1, 2010 in Orlando, Florida. For conference details, visit www.gis-pro.org.

[Source: URISA press release]

The Utility of “Google Trends” for Epidemiological Research: Lyme Disease as an Example

Geospatial Health, Volume 4, Number 2, May 2010, Pages 135-137

Ari Seifter1, Alison Schwarzwalder2, Kate Geis3, John Aucott4

“Internet search engines have become an increasingly popular resource for accessing health-related information. The key words used as well as the number and geographic location of searches can provide trend data, as have recently been made available by Google Trends. We report briefly on exploring this resource using Lyme disease as an example because it has well-described seasonal and geographic patterns. We found that search traffic for the string “Lyme disease” reflected increased likelihood of exposure during spring and summer months; conversely, the string “cough” had higher relative traffic during winter months. The cities and states with the highest amount of search traffic for “Lyme disease” overlapped considerably with those where Lyme is known to be endemic. Despite limitations to over-interpretation, we found Google Trends to approximate certain trends previously identified in the epidemiology of Lyme disease. The generation of this type of data may have valuable future implications in aiding surveillance of a broad range of diseases.”

Evaluating a 50 Year Record of Forest Encroachment in Rocky Mountain Alpine Meadows

95th Ecological Society of America (ESA) Annual Meeting, Pittsburgh, PA, 01-06 August 2010

Sunita Yadav and Stephen F. Matter

“The potential impact of global warming is predicted to be strongest at higher altitude and latitude. Alpine meadows are already limited in their spatial extent and are especially vulnerable to rising temperatures which may cause them to retract substantially or completely disappear due to invasion by woody forest species. It is generally believed, that during periods of warmer than average temperatures, tree-line increases in altitude. In our study, we analyzed the record from 1952 to 2009 of forest encroachment in the Alberta Rocky Mountains. We quantified the extent of meadow areas along two ridges in the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies to explore land cover change. Historical aerial photographs, image processing, and geographic information systems (GIS) tools were used to quantify the extent of forest encroachment over the past 50 years. Using an orthorectified base map, we co-registered the aerial photographs and classified forest and meadow areas. Actual areal extent was calculated in a GIS program.  The results clearly show a significant decrease in meadow area with the majority of the reduction occurring within the past two decades. The consequences of such dramatic landscape change have cascading effects on meadow populations leading to reduced overall species diversity and smaller individual species populations due to fragmentation and isolation. Further work on this system involves studying the effects of this fragmentation on the population structure of a Sedum species occurring in these meadows.”

2010 Exemplary Systems in Government (ESIG) Winners Announced

URISA’s Exemplary Systems in Government (ESIG) Awards recognize exceptional achievements in the application of information technology that have improved the delivery and quality of government services. URISA is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s ESIG Awards.


Systems in this category are outstanding and working examples of using information systems technology in a multi-department environment as part of an integrated process. These systems exemplify effective use of technology yielding widespread improvements in the process(es) and/or service(s) involved and/or cost savings to the organization.

2010 ESIG Winner:

  • OneMap – A Multi-Agency Window for Geospatial Information and Service Delivery – Singapore Land Authority
    Submitted by: Lim Ming Khai, Head, GeoSpatial Operations & Development, GeoSpatial Division, Singapore Land Authority

One of the core functions of the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) is to promote and proliferate the sharing and use of geospatial data among government agencies so as to support better decision making and the creation of new business opportunities. OneMap is a common map platform for public agencies to publish information and deliver map-based e-services to the public. OneMap is also available to businesses, who can leverage a free API to create useful and value-added location-based services that will benefit the public.

The motivating factor for this system was not to create a web mapping application for any specific department or agency, but the desire to create a common platform that could then be used by ANY department or agency to display their geospatial data. This is a country wide initiative with very granular local data. System development relied on multi-agency collaboration and effective use of agency resources. A unique aspect of the system is its inclusion of non-government partners and the provision of APIs to allow the public to not just consume the data, but to allow private enterprise to use the system as a platform for creating their own web map applications by using their own data and allowing these to be embedded in non-SLA websites. It is a major step forward for any national government to try and share non-sensitive data with its citizens.  It is another major step to develop systems that can be freely consumed by private and public agencies to provide value added service delivery.

Distinguished System in this Category:

  • City IQ – City of Bellingham, WA
    Submitted by: Don Burdick, GIS & Technical Services Manager, City of Bellingham, WA


Systems in this category are outstanding and working examples of applying information system technology to automate a specific SINGLE process or operation involving one department or sub-unit of an agency. The system application results in extended and/or improved government services that are more efficient and/or save money.

2010 ESIG Winner:

  • Situational Awareness for Field Operations Support System – New York City Office of Emergency Management
    Submitted by: Hassan Adekoya, GISP, GIS Application Development Project Manager, NYC Office of Emergency Management

The primary objective of the NYC Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is to plan and prepare the city for emergencies, coordinate emergency response and recovery, and educate the public in order to better prepare for emergencies. The Situational Awareness for Field Response System (SAFRS) was developed to assist the agency’s Operations Division in acquiring immediate situational awareness as an incident is reported as well as to provide citywide tracking on all OEM monitored incidents. The system allows watch commanders and citywide interagency coordinators/field responders to access and query the agency’s GIS data sets from their desks or vehicles. In addition, SAFRS integrates with other systems to provide more comprehensive information to first responders; these system integrations did not require modifications to existing workflows.

The system is unique in being able to both create a spatial “dashboard” map of situations on the go, and being able to output a package of materials for use by field personnel. An important impact was the dramatic reduction in time required to produce situational awareness materials – from a former response time of 60 minutes to a current response time of 60 seconds – critical in the time-sensitive domain of emergency response. This system’s human resource efficiencies are also commendable.  The entire project was designed and developed using only in-house staff, and following launch, the need for after-hours GIS staff was eliminated, saving $174k/yr.

Distinguished System in this Category:

  • Pierce County GIS Online Budget System – County of Pierce, WA
    Submitted by: Art Seeley, GISP, Interim GIS Manager, County of Pierce

URISA congratulates all of the participants in the 2010 Exemplary Systems in Government Award program. The winners in each category and those systems recognized as Distinguished Systems will be celebrated during the Awards Breakfast at GIS-Pro 2010: URISA’s 48th Annual Conference in Orlando. Systems will also present their accomplishments within the ESIG Award Showcase Sessions at the conference on Thursday, September 30, 2010.

The winning and distinguished system submissions are posted online: http://www.urisa.org/awards/2010esig

[Source: URISA press release]

Ability to Detect and Locate Gross Errors on DEM Matching Algorithm

International Journal of Digital Earth, Volume 3, Issue 1 March 2010 , pages 72 – 82

T. Zhang; M. Cen; Z. Ren; R. Yang; Y. Feng; and J. Zhu

“Digital elevation model (DEM) matching techniques have been extended to DEM deformation detection by substituting a robust estimator for the least squares estimator, in which terrain changes are treated as gross errors. However, all existing methods only emphasise their deformation detecting ability, and neglect another important aspect: only when the gross error can be detected and located, can this system be useful. This paper employs the gross error judgement matrix as a tool to make an in-depth analysis of this problem. The theoretical analyses and experimental results show that observations in the DEM matching algorithm in real applications have the ability to detect and locate gross errors. Therefore, treating the terrain changes as gross errors is theoretically feasible, allowing real DEM deformations to be detected by employing a surface matching technique.”

Utilities Get Connected at Esri’s Electric & Gas Conference

Registration is Now Open for the 2010 Electric & Gas User Group Conference

Energy professionals from around the world will gather this October at the Electric & Gas User Group (EGUG) Conference, hosted by Esri. Attendees will glean new ideas, share proven solutions, and learn more about reliable applications of geographic information system (GIS) technology from Esri. This year’s event will delve into solutions for the current challenges facing electric and gas utilities including smart grid, distribution integrity management, cloud computing, renewable energy, and economic development.

The 2010 EGUG Conference will be held October 17–20 at the Hyatt Regency in Dearborn, Michigan.

In conference sessions, individual utilities and Esri business partners will present personal success stories related to

  • Regulatory requirements and compliance
  • GIS in the field
  • Leading applications of GIS
  • GIS in this time of economic challenges
  • Safety and reliability

Technical workshops to be presented at the EGUG Conference will include System Architecture and Productivity Tools for ArcGIS 9.3.1 and ArcGIS 10.

Visit www.esri.com/egugconference.

[Source: Esri press release]

Stan Meiburg to Discuss Challenges in Using GIS for Environmental Protection at GIS-Pro 2010

URISA is pleased to announce Stan Meiburg as the opening keynote speaker at GIS-Pro 2010 in Orlando. Stan Meiburg is the Acting Regional Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4 in Atlanta, Georgia. In his keynote address, “From Environmental Information to Environmental Action: Challenges in Using GIS for Environmental Protection,” Mr. Meiburg will discuss the barriers to the use of GIS applications in setting environmental policy and producing environmental improvement. These barriers include integrating technical tools, data quality, laws and regulations, unclear policy objectives, and political will.  They can be overcome with patient, persistent, professional leadership and collaborative efforts, but they pose significant challenges which go beyond simply refining GIS applications.

Danielle Ayan, GISP, GIS-Pro 2010 Conference Chair offers that “U.S. EPA Region 4 has experienced tremendous activity over the past several years, including the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and other pollution challenges, mountaintop mining, climate change and green living, to name a few. While these activities are not necessarily unique to EPA Region 4, it is impressive how EPA Region 4, under Mr. Meiburg’s direction, is leveraging the geospatial approach for managing and addressing them.”

Mr. Meiburg will deliver his keynote address on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at GIS-Pro 2010: URISA’s 48th Annual Conference for GIS Professionals in Orlando. For more information, visit www.gis-pro.org.

[Source: URISA press release]

Spatio-temporal Analysis of Pneumonia and Influenza Hospitalizations in Ontario, Canada

Geospatial Health 2(2), 2008, pp. 191-202

Eric J. Crighton, Susan J. Elliott, Pavlos Kanaroglou, Rahim Moineddin, and Ross E.G. Upshur

“Pneumonia and influenza represent a significant public health and health care system burden that is expected to increase with the aging of developed nations’ populations. The burden of these illnesses is far from uniform however, with recent studies showing that they are both highly spatially and temporally variable. We have combined spatial and time-series analysis techniques to examine pneumonia and influenza hospitalizations in the province of Ontario, Canada, to determine how temporal patterns vary over space, and how spatial patterns of hospitalizations vary over time. Knowledge of these patterns can provide clues to disease aetiology and inform the effective management of health care system resources. Spatial analysis revealed significant clusters of high hospitalization rates in northern and rural counties (Moran’s I = 0.186; P <0.05), while county level time series analysis demonstrated significant upward trends in rates in almost a quarter of the counties (P <0.05), and significant seasonality in all but one county (Fisher-Kappa and Barlett Kolmogorov Smirnov tests significant at the level P <0.01). Areas of weak seasonality were typically seen in rural areas with high rates of hospitalizations. The highest levels of spatial clustering of pneumonia and influenza hospitalizations were found to occur in months when rates were lowest. The findings provide evidence of spatio-temporal interaction over the study period, with marked spatial variability in temporal patterns, and temporal variability in spatial patterns. Results point to the need for the effective allocation of services and resources based on regional and seasonal demands, and more regionally focused prevention strategies. This research represents an important step towards understanding the dynamic nature of these illnesses, and sets the stage for the application of spatio-temporal modelling techniques to explain them.”